Do I need a lawyer to draw up and notarize my will in New Jersey?

Nov 22, 2018 | Probate

You do not need a lawyer to draw up and notarize a will.

You also do not need a car mechanic to fix your car or a dentist to fix your teeth. Sometimes it is best to hire an expert to fix your problems before they become bigger problems. However, back to the main question, it is not required by New Jersey to have your will drafted by an attorney or notarized. If all you think is that you need is a basic will, such as one that leaves a home, investments, and personal items to your loved ones, and, if you have young children, that names a guardian to take care of them you may want to spend $400 to get it drafted by an expert instead of spending $69.00 for Legal Zoom to do it for you.  (I am currently working on a construction contract case where the online contract company wasn’t compliant with New Jersey law, and now the contractor is fighting to be paid over $70,000 on a contract only cost him $10.)

What are New Jersey requirements for a valid Will?

The following are the basic requirements for making/executing a valid will in New Jersey:

  1. The testator/testatrix executing the will must be at least 18 years old.
  2. She or he must be “of sound mind.” (This means the testator/testatrix has not been deemed incompetent in a legal proceeding prior to executing the will.)
    1. She or he understands the meaning and purpose of the document and
    2. She or he understand the nature and extent of the property at issue.
  3. The will must be in writing.
  4. Finally the will must be signed by the person making it (the “testator/testatrix”) and also by two people who witnessed the testator sign the will, or witnessed the testator acknowledge his or her signature or the will itself. In the event the testator/testatrix cannot physically sign the will on her/his own, she or he may direct another party to do so.

Can I handwrite my Will (Holographic Wills)?

Under New Jersey law oral wills are not recognized; however, in New Jersey you can probate a handwritten will if it is written in the testator’s handwriting. These wills are sometimes called “holographic” wills. This just means that the will is in the testator/testatrix’s own handwriting.

If you Need Help Drafting and Executing A Valid Will Please Contact Us:

Our firm can assist you in drafting and executing a valid will in New Jersey. Please call (973) 200-1111 and ask to speak with an estate planning attorney at The Law Offices of Patel, Soltis & Cardenas, LLC. We are here to help you protect your interests and property.


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